Screenwriter Jenny Lumet, daughter of famed director Sidney Lumet, wrote an essay in the Hollywood Reporter revealing the night she claims multimillionaire music producer Russell Simmons forced her back to his apartment and violated her sexually.
The alleged incident took place over two decades ago, but Lumet writes that she chose to come forward after Simmons denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a model, who was only 17 years old at the time.
“Abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being.” Simmons said in a statement earlier this month, denying the allegations.
“More than anything, I want my daughters to live in a more equal world and a world where they will not become victims of sexual harassment.”
Russell Simmons steps down from businesses after Sidney Lumet's daughter says he sexually violated her https://t.co/gtpQuGH074
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 30, 2017
Lumet quoted Simmons in her first-person account, written as an open letter to Russell, published in the Hollywood Reporter, in which she described a night in 1991 when she, then in her early twenties, accepted a ride from from Simmons, who she had considered a friendly acquaintance until that time. But when Lumet told the driver to take her to her own apartment, she claims Russell refused — and turned into a man she didn’t recognize:
I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the windows. The car was moving. The driver did not stop. He did not take me to 19th Street. He took me to your apartment.
I didn’t try to kick the windows out. I didn’t punch or kick. I didn’t say “What are you doing?” My voice left me after the second “No”.
I felt dread and disorientation. I wanted to go home. I said I wanted to go home. I didn’t recognize the man next to me. I didn’t know if the situation would turn violent. I remember thinking that I must be crazy; I remember hoping that the Russell I knew would return any moment.
Lumet said that Russell then brought her back to his apartment, where she felt that she had no choice but to give in to him as he allegedly pushed her onto his bed and penetrated her.
“I desperately wanted to keep the situation from escalating. I wanted you to feel that I was not going to be difficult. I wanted to stay as contained as I could.”
The Rachel Getting Married screenwriter said that after the ordeal was over, she quickly left Russell’s apartment without incident. She said she has seen him in social settings multiple times and while she never confronted him, seeing him at otherwise celebratory events like award ceremonies or parties made them feel “tainted.”
This time, Simmons did not deny the allegations, though he did claim to have a different recollection of events. As CrimeOnline reported, he issued a statement saying he would be stepping away from his myriad business interests to focus on self-reflection. His statement is included below in full:
I have been informed with great anguish of Jenny Lumet’s recollection about our night together in 1991. I know Jenny and her family and have seen her several times over the years since the evening she described. While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real. While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades and I sincerely apologize.
This is a time of great transition. The voices of the voiceless, those who have been hurt or shamed, deserve and need to be heard. As the corridors of power inevitably make way for a new generation, I don’t want to be a distraction so I am removing myself from the businesses that I founded. The companies will now be run by a new and diverse generation of extraordinary executives who are moving the culture and consciousness forward. I will convert the studio for yogic science into a not-for-profit center of learning and healing. As for me, I will step aside and commit myself to continuing my personal growth, spiritual learning and above all to listening.
[Feature image: Associated Press]